Extreme shortfall: fundraising lags behind; construction catches up

Extreme shortfall: fundraising lags behind; construction catches up

February 17th, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

ROSSVILLE -- In most "Extreme Makeover" builds the selected family not only gets a house, but has their old mortgage paid off with money raised in the community.

But as things stood Wednesday, fundraising staff said they do not have enough money in the family fund to cover the $200,000 they say they need to pay for the old mortgage and additional construction costs.

"Just because we've built them a new house doesn't mean their mortgage goes away," said Julie Brown, fundraising coordinator for the build.

Crews already have called in $5,000 in extra lumber, none of which was in the budget.

"Those big numbers are starting to add up," Brown said.

So far corporate sponsors have donated $60,000 but Brown would not say how much other fundraisers had brought in. According to public records, Michael and Cindy Sharrock paid $60,000 for the now-demolished home in 2001, a couple of years before their son, Patrick, was born with brittle bone disease.

Churches, business and other groups have organized concerts, promotions and other events to raise money for the project.

The Chick-fil-A in Fort Oglethorpe will be donating 15 percent of its sales between 4 and 10 p.m. today to the Sharrock family.

James Hunter, assistant manager at the restaurant, said the Sharrocks eat there all of the time, and management decided to give back.

If You Go

What: Big Hearts Bash

When: 7 to 11 p.m. today

Where: The Car Barn, 6721 Heritage Business Court

How much: Tickets are $100 and available at the door or at select First Volunteer Bank locations

For information: Call 423-508-4481

"We just felt like they deserve it," Hunter said. "It's going to be a huge night. Everybody here is excited."

The Big Heart Bash tonight at the Car Barn could bring in $25,000 if tickets sell out, according to organizers. Silent and live auctions with items such as tours of the house and a cast-autographed bullhorn could bring in more money.

Brown said she hoped media exposure of the family will help the cause.

"As they're meeting the family and seeing Patrick, I'm hoping they will step up to the plate," she said of potential donors.

Construction

But while fundraising may be lagging, the construction team made progress to catch up with their ambitious schedule. At a 10 a.m. media briefing, lead builder Jason Willard said crews had gotten as far as eight hours behind Tuesday but had caught up to be only five hours behind Wednesday morning.

Willard said he thought they could catch up during the drywall work Wednesday afternoon.

"We'll catch it up somewhere," said Willard, who estimated the crews had already covered nearly three months of work by Wednesday morning.

Earlier in the day, celebrity designer Ed Sanders provided a few more details on a special project he and Xzibit are working on. Sanders recounted his visit with Patrick on Sunday when the 9-year-old excitedly showed the designers the bush he crawled under to use as his clubhouse. Patrick told them all about the imaginary fort, including a warning not to get hit by the "death laser."

Sanders said he plans to build some kind of accessible fort in the backyard that Patrick could play in safely, if there is time.

"He's still a 9-year-old boy with 9-year-old tendencies," Sanders said. "This kid needs a home that works for him."

Architect Jon Greenfield explained that the house would have no stairs anywhere and would have a 7-foot-by-11-foot swimming pool for Patrick's therapy. Greenfield said the overall goal is for a European farmhouse-style building with a stone facade.

Sanders called Wednesday and today crucial and told everyone to expect a flurry of activity.

"You blink, you miss something," he said.

Staff writer Dave Flessner contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfree press.com or call 423-757-6324.

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